At the RWA we like to embrace and support all our members in whatever way we can and with technology being such an integeral part of the way we all operate in today’s modern world we thought it was high time we started to get Face-2-Face with some of the RWA’s online groups.
Yes, there’s not doubt about it. Find a group of like-minded romance writers and they’ll find a way to meet, share, learn and grow together even when distance seperates them. If you haven’t already then perhaps our latest series of F2F posts (look out for them on the first Wednesday of the moth) will inspire you to become part of an online group yourself.
Group Name: LoveCats Downunder
Area/Region: We’re Australian and New Zealand authors, hailing from places including Canberra to Perth, Christchurch, Mahau and the Sunshine Coast.
Members: Natalie Anderson, Sharon Archer, Leah Ashton, Rachel Bailey, Zana Bell, Robyn Grady, Anna Hackett, Soraya Lane, Sue Mackay, Emily May, Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Nikki Logan.
Genre: We write category romance in a broad range of lines and genres including Medical, Desire, Historicals, Romance/Sweet, Nocturne Bites, Riva, Sexy, Super Romance and Spice Briefs.
How did we start?
Sharon: “How about… we start a blog for new Harlequin category authors?” I picture Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan nurturing this idea over a fancy cocktail at the Langham Hotel but the truth is they did it in a brainstorming session on instant messaging on opposite coasts of Australia.
They floated the concept to Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Emily May, Zana Bell and me, Sharon Archer – we were all for it. We were on a roll, setting up a loop to make our discussions easier.
Title ideas got batted around. We wanted something fun – an umbrella for all of us
with our variety of lines. We wanted “cats” since we’re “category” writers and all those delicious “cat” words and puns begged to be used! And we wanted something that located us.
LoveCatsDownUnder! We launched ourselves into the blogosphere in mid-January 2010 with a week-long party. Since then we’ve added more wonderful Cats: Anna Hackett, Michelle Douglas, Sue Mackay, Natalie Anderson, Soraya Lane and Robyn Grady, and Leah Ashton.
How do we work?
Emily: We share the jobs on the LoveCats blog. Sharon Archer is in charge of our calendar (we call her Roster Cat) and Mel Teshco is our promo cat, posting our weekly schedule on the Romaus loop and to the RWA Cruisin’ the Blogs coordinator. Nikki Logan uploads our new covers and designed the original blog. Tracie Sommers put together our Facebook page. Rachel Bailey started the Sunday Smooches — where we showcase a kiss from a recent release and have a giveaway — and Robyn Grady and I (Emily May) now run the smooches between us. We’re lucky to have a programmer (Tracie Sommers) and a web designer (Leah Ashton) on the team, and they’re currently discussing our new look.
The more technologically savvy people have been great hand-holders for those of us who find it more challenging. I am forever indebted to Sharon for the wonderful step-by-step guide she wrote on how to post a blog and upload photos!
Why I joined?
Sue: I joined the Lovecats as they’re a lively, professional and fun group of authors determined to get known out in the wider world of books. Everyone has something to offer and a variety of romance subgenres is represented. For me having minimal computer knowledge belonging to a group is a distinct advantage too.
Why we like it?
Zana: The best thing about being a LoveCat is always having like-minded women with whom to celebrate and commiserate. We’ve been together through floods, earthquakes, births, marriages, sickness and, of course the writing of books! In the uncertain world of publishing, it’s wonderful to have a group where we can seek help and ask questions. We’ve pooled knowledge, shared experiences and brainstormed solutions for a myriad of situations and there’s nothing like a bit of cyber support when you don’t know where else to turn.
Extra Curricular Activities?
Tracie: LoveCats love pressies. Apart from having prizes and giveaways on the blog, the LoveCat members have donated prize packs to several charity fundraisers including the Silent Auctions held at the annual RWA conferences and additional fundraisers such as the Australian Romance Reader’s Convention fundraiser for flood and cyclone affected Queenslander’s earlier this year. The other thing the LoveCats love to do is cheer each other on. Last year we had three Ruby finalists Cats: Sharon, Tracie and Robyn, and this year we have a different three we’ll be cheering on at the Awards Night: Emily, Michelle and Natalie.
What have you learned that others might be interested in?
Robyn: Writing can be a lonely occupation. Joining with other like-minded people creates positives all over the place! You share good news, as well as those not-so-happy moments I call ‘thunks’. When you’re stuck, there’s always someone to bounce off and, of course, you reap satisfaction returning the favour. Valuable information is circulated, appreciated, and hopefully passed on further afield. Best of all, friendships are made…bonds that will serve you well on so many levels, in so many ways.
If you have any questions about LoveCatsDownunder or are interested in becoming a member then please contact Rachel, Nikki and the other wonderful Cats ladies via their blog http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com/